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Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that persons who write cynically about Argyle International Airport should stroke their breast and say “mea culpa” whenever they use the facility.

His comment came Wednesday at an event to commission a chandelier to mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of the airport.

“I know there are people who write about this airport in a cynical manner,” he said, adding that the original cynic in ancient Greece was not hypocritical because he lived in a barrel.

“But the same ones who are cynical about this, you think they does tek (take) speedboat and go Carriacou? Eh? You think that is what they does do?

“They come here and some of them, they have such bad mind, they push up they face, they wuk up they mouth. I ask them please, at the end of the first anniversary, it is here, it not going anywhere, just cool out, relax and stay within the frame of almighty God,” the prime minister said.

“Just accept that you were wrong about it. Just accept that. You were wrong about it and put your hand on your heart when you come in, and if you don’t want to say it in English, say it in elementary Latin: ‘Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.’ ‘Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.’ And be cleansed and enjoy the place nuh,” Gonsalves said.

AIA audience
A section of the crowd at the event on Wednesday. (iWN photo)

He said the airport, which opened on Feb. 14, 2017 after a six-year delay, “is a metaphor for what a determined and united and creative people could accomplish against immense odds”.

Gonsalves said that the EC$700 million airport was built with tremendous love and is unique in the Caribbean.

“First of all, it is the only airport which has not received the imprimatur of any engineer, any technical person from America, Canada or Europe — the only airport in the entire Caribbean,” he said.

He said he knew the risk involved when the airport was started, saying that if he had been unable to complete it he would not be prime minister today.

“I would’ve been pilloried. I might’ve had to go and see if I can get a spot on Balliceaux,” he said, referring to an uninhabited and inhospitable island in the Grenadines to which indigenous Vincentians were taken 200 years ago before being sent into exile.

“As long as we can read and write and record things, what we have accomplished here will be in the memory of our people and of our Caribbean civilisation.”

He spoke of metaphors woven into the design of the airport, including the green counter tops, mahogany facade in the ceiling, and the stone work.

“So this is not just made like that. Thought went into it… This is not a piece of concrete simpliciter. It has life and meaning for all of us,” Gonsalves said.

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4 replies on “Cynics should say ‘mea culpa’ when using AIA — PM”

  1. Blaphemy has always been in Ralph vocabalry

    His words are derived from the Latin phrase “mea maxima culpa”. It is taken from the Confiteor that is part of the Roman Catholic Mass. It translates into English as “Through my most grievous fault”.

    It has been used many times regarding the sexual interferance with little boys.

    How on earth he can leave home to go to such a function looking like that is a discrace to his office.

  2. “Mea culpa,” for what? For your closing Arnos Vale airport, thereby taking away my choice of which airport to use? Of course I have used AIA because I have no viable alternative! Or do you expect me to cut off my nose to spite my face?!

    “Mea culpa” for an airport that has lost money hand over fist every day that it has been open from the perspective of the economy as a whole?

    “Mea culpa” for a facility that would never add enough value to our economy as a whole by raising our foreign tourist spending to levels greater than its costs, debts, and servicing?

    “Mea culpa” for all the debt you have piled up that we will never be able to repay?

    If AIA is a metaphor for anything, it is a metaphor for the countless economically failed government projects since the development of the world’s first state societies — palaces, temples, monuments, arenas, stadia, and, yes, many now abandonned or grossly underused airports — projects that were put in place solely to impress or pacify the ignorant masses while granting undeserved benefits to supporters of the ruling regime.

  3. “He [Ralph Gonsalves] said he knew the risk involved when the airport was started, saying that if he had been unable to complete it he would not be prime minister today.”

    He could have also added that had he never had the outrageous audacity to build this needless airport — a poliically cynical act if there ever was one — he would not be prime minister today because he has very few other accomplishments to show for 17 years in power except high borrowing and massive Crown land sales aimed at reaping votes by: (1) financing expansion of our already blouted civil service; (2) increasing Poor Relief and other dispensations such as scholarships to children from well off families; (3) expanding educational opportunities by buiding brick-and-morter schools with watered down standards and no prospects of employment upon graduation; (4) selling house spots at below market value to persons who could not possibly afford to build houses on it; (5) financing housing for middle and lower income people who, in even rich countries, are expected to work and save to acquire a home of their own; (6) granting no down payment loans to government workers who are thereby made dependent on government for 25 or more years.

    Meanwhile, there has been no change in the unemployment and underemployment levels among our people, even though the level of living of most people have improved, not through government economic development efforts, but because of the mass migration of thousands of people who would have otherwise been a drag on the economy, together with their remittances to relatives left behind.

  4. Hello David, spare me a thought or two. You once delivered a lengthy sermon on the rise of Cuba tourism, remember? The English speaking Caribbean had a record season last year, thought it would have been the opposite. Delusional dude, always negative. Poor soul.

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